Graduates of Elon’s class of 1967 celebrate West Hall’s 111 birthday

By: Caroline Lane

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On the evening of October 20 as the sun set on West Hall’s 111 birthday, Susie Boon and Mary Ann Kimball, graduates of Elon’s class of 1967, sat on the porch reminiscing of days long gone, but never forgotten.

In the fall of 1963, Susie Boon and Mary Ann Kimball began their college experience by moving into West Hall, a place not so different from today.

“Being here in this part of campus, it feels like nothing’s changed,” Boon said, “Everything’s the same, even the bathrooms.”

West might have stayed the same, but the campus itself back in the ’60s was a very different place. It was split into a boy’s side and girl’s side, but the girls weren’t allowed on the other side of campus. The list of rules for the girls extended beyond just that: study hours, curfew and no pants.

The two of them laughed together as they described how they would wear long coats and roll up their pants underneath, to make it look like they had on dresses. Even their nightlife was vastly different; if they were cutting it close to curfew, they had the doors memorized of which would close first and as Mary Ann described it, “it was a mad dash to get to the last door that would be locked otherwise we couldn’t go out the next weekend.”

“Back then [it] didn’t feel wrong that we had so many rules and [the boys] didn’t,” Boon said. “It was just something that we accepted at the time.”

Susie and Mary Ann sat on the porch with their husbands, who they both met during their years at Elon, as they recalled the dating life at Elon to be very different from how it is now.

The common room that sat behind the two couples had a very different function back in the day: it served as the setting for dates. From 10 to 10:30 each weeknight, boys were allowed to visit and the parlor would be packed with students.

“That was the only place we could bring boys back to, so we would all hang out in the parlor talking to our boyfriends,” Boon said.

“It was love at first sight in the parlor,” said her husband, Stan Boon.

Stan was especially eager to come to the birthday party because he had never been able to see the inside of a West dormitory. Since their years at Elon they have been back many times; each couple had a son who ended up coming to Elon and have returned for many reunions.

“So much has changed on campus since our days,” Kimball said, “but sitting here on West porch it feels like not a thing has changed.”

Campus is constantly changing and advancing, but 49 years from now, just like the experience of Mary Ann Kimball and Susie Boon, Elon will continue to feel like home to each student, past and present.

Tags: class of 1967, West, Susie Boon, Mary Ann Kimball, Homecoming

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